Canada and CARICOM pledge to strengthen existing relationship

June 25, 2023  -Canada and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have reaffirmed the “enduring value of the deep and dynamic partnership” strengthening their commitment to sustainability, resilience, climate action, access to finance, regional security, and shared values.

The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat Friday released the text of a joint communique issued following a meeting held earlier this week between Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and several CARICOM foreign affairs ministers and diplomats on the margins of the ongoing Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Washington.

The CARICOM team was led by Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, who is also the chair of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR).

The communique noted that Joly and Johnson Smith co-chaired the Canada-CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ Group meeting, where the delegates underscored the need for continued vigilance in mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change, pursuing concrete action to re-build resilient and sustainable economies, cooperating on regional security, and increasing collaboration in multilateral forums among other matters.

The communique noted that the meeting reviewed the “concrete progress” on the Canada-CARICOM Roadmap for Action, with the ministers noting results in key areas such as climate resilience, trade, inclusive governance, and multilateral engagement.

“For example, as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February 2023, Canada is now implementing CAD$44.8 million (One Canadian dollar=US$0.75 cents) in new initiatives to support CARICOM in addressing the climate crisis, and the Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism completed 48 capacity-building initiatives in 2022 alon

The communique noted that Canada re-committed to joint advocacy for the needs of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within multilateral fora, including at the United Nations, the Commonwealth, and the OAS.

“Ministers look forward to the report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) and welcomed future consultations on potential uses of the MVI.”

The meeting also discussed further exploration of reforms to the global financial architecture, including the Bridgetown Initiative and to address the specific vulnerabilities of Caribbean SIDS.

“They welcomed the renewal of CARIBCAN and discussed additional ways to bolster trade and investment between Canada and the region, including for a clean and green transition,” the communique said adding that the ministers underscored the need for collective and urgent action to combat climate change, including adequate climate financing for adaptation, mitigation, and resilience, and looked ahead to operationalizing the new loss and damage funding arrangement and fund.

“Ministers called for new joint and innovative approaches to tackle food insecurity and escalating regional security challenges; highlighting the need to collectively address the challenge of migration in the region and the desire for improved mobility between CARICOM Member States and Canada.”

Regarding Haiti, the ministers acknowledged that the ongoing political and security crisis in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country “is a humanitarian challenge and destabilizing influence in the region and that it must be addressed through coordinated international action and Haitian-led solutions.

“They re-affirmed the need for a national, inclusive political dialogue to reduce tensions in Haiti and that collective efforts towards such a dialogue must continue. Ministers summarized the key priorities for Haiti, including strengthening the security sector, supporting inclusive political dialogue, imposing targeted sanctions, and addressing humanitarian needs.”

The communique said that the meeting commended Canada’s coordination role with the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti and the Haitian National Police to facilitate international security assistance to Haiti.

“Canada welcomed CARICOM’s concrete action, including their efforts to support political dialogue, the recent appointment of an Eminent Persons Group, the extension of the Community’s good offices to the Government of Haiti and Haitian stakeholders, including the Kingston Talks hosted in Jamaica, and the offers to train Haitian police and service personnel.

Ministers emphasized the need to maintain forward momentum and not lose sight of the daily impacts of the crisis on all Haitians.”

The meeting also agreed to continue working collaboratively towards the establishment of a permanent mechanism to deepen the strategic partnership between Canada and CARICOM, building on the Canada-CARICOM Roadmap for Action, and addressing the ongoing political and security crisis in Haiti, the communique added.


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